A shift to digital money seems inevitable. Governments all over the world are openly exploring digital fiat currencies, including the US and Europe. But what would a digital Dollar (or Euro) mean for your privacy? Will new digital currencies hold onto the ethos of Bitcoin and put privacy first, or will it simply feel no different than the increasingly cashless world we already live in?
Great Britain’s Essex University has suffered a data breach impacting 400 of its nearly 18,000 students. As explained by the law firm Hayes Connor, a spreadsheet containing student IDs, dates of birth, and contact information was, likely inadvertently, attached to an email involving the university’s facilities management department and an outside vendor. Though limited to a very small portion of the student body, university officials say that they are “taking this issue very seriously” and that they have “contacted all individuals involved to offer advice and support”.
Ikea Canada has suffered a security mishap and 95,000 customers have been impacted. The furniture store explained that customer data was revealed in the results of an internal “generic search” conducted by an employee who should not have been able to access such information. No financial information was accessed in the breach. Data potentially accessed includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, and postal codes. The company has “proactively notified the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about this incident, as well as any applicable customers”.
Colorado’s Douglas County School District is working through the fallout of a data breach at a third-party software vendor. The District explained that the breach was against Illuminate Education, and that student information was accessed. It remains unclear how many of the school system's nearly 64,000 students were impacted, and to what extent. This is the second breach against Illuminate that we’re reporting this year. Back in April, a nearly identical incident took out the New York City Public School System’s grading and attendance system for one whole week. Illuminate might want to look into some continuing education.
Privacy advocates in British Columbia, Canada are calling for the establishment of “surveillance no-go zones” that would outlaw facial-recognition technology in areas and instances including schools, peaceful assemblies and protests, transit spaces, and even public spaces. “Our law and regulations should start from the assumption that indiscriminate, pervasive mass biometric surveillance is presumed to be unlawful,” said Michael Larsen, President of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. Thot’s unlikely that any future laws would meet the full extent of the demands, growing support from lawmakers including Michael McEvoy, Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, it’s safe to assume that change is on the way.
The European Central Bank’s (”ECB”) proposed (and far from ready) digital fiat currency will favor transparency instead of privacy. In a series of tweets, industry veteran Patrick Hansen breaks down the proposed privacy options of the ECB, and how valuable they actually are to the marketplace. In his views, shared by many others, a digital fiat currency would ultimately offer no additional privacy protections than the traditional fiat currencies of today. What do you think? A natural progression, or a step back?
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